Creating a Whole-school Language Department

Creating Consistency and Cohesion across Languages

There are myriad languages attended to in international schools: school language, host country language, home languages, foreign languages. In most cases, each of these has its own department, its own programme, its own little corner of the school, and is treated as a separate entity. Pedagogy for teaching languages often varies immensely between languages, and is commonly not aligned with the rest of the curriculum and teaching.

From the perspective of theory and practice, however, the teaching of languages is a distinct field that encompasses all kinds of language teaching. The needs and priorities of each type of language teaching may vary, but they are all firmly embedded in language acquisition theory, and in language teaching pedagogy. Ideally, all the language teaching in a school should be connected by the School Language Policy, which lays out beliefs about language and language learning, and about language teaching. The methodologies used in all language classes should be similar, just as the methodologies in the mainstream classes are expected to be similar. Bringing all the languages into one department allows for cross-language cooperation, sharing of ideas, co-planning, and cross-disciplinary teaching and learning.

Creating a Language Department

Bringing all language teaching under one umbrella involves the following steps:

CEC provides advisory support for schools wishing to integrate their language programmes into one Languages Department.